There’s something about Casa di Monti in Puglia, this vision in white set on an arid Mediterranean parcel of gnarled olive groves and bunny-eared cacti. As a minimalist confection of stone, cement, glass, and corten steel—all rather cool ingredients that lend it a terribly chic, magazine-ready aesthetic— it emanates a surprisingly earthy, approachable vibe. This is in no small measure thanks to owner Sylvie’s sensibility towards all-natural materials and artisanal crafts. The walls of the villa are lightly adorned with eclectic finds that promise a charming story.
Beside Sylvie’s dining table hangs a large composition of undyed, handwoven jute; concentric circles that swirl into each other. Created by her friend Laurence Touitou, the designer behind La Liste Tunisienne, the piece was originally intended as a floor rug. Sylvie decided to present it on her wall as the art piece that it is.
The Somaa rug, as it is called, is named after a village in the outskirts of Nabeul, a Tunisian city of potters and rug makers. Two women, Djamila (below) and Ichraf, work in a pair weaving wild palm fiber into the interlinked discs that make the rug. Or wall hanging, of course. (We liked it so much we’ve added it to our Marketplace; find it here.)
La Liste Tunisienne is quietly making its name amongst anyone interested in contemporary artisanal creations. Touitou is Tunisian-born, and though she has spent many formative years in France, remains a champion of Tunisian heritage and savoir-faire. She credits her taste to her parents, who had a penchant for the works of Le Corbusier and the Scandinavian designers. She grew up admiring the simplicity of Tunisian classical artisanal objects. Today, this regard is reflected in the distilled beauty and utility of her collections, and in the materials she chooses to work with.
What we love about Sylvie’s finds in Casa Di Monti is their straightforward soul and sincerity. Be it the work of a friend or a collector’s piece, they have found their place in Sylvie’s vacation home because they are pieces she clearly enjoys, and that makes all the difference.